Surf House Dubai give us the lowdown on taking to the waves off the UAE coast
With a coastline stretching more than 800 miles and a steady flow of decent waves, the UAE is a good spot for surfing.
Okay, so coastal redevelopment has lessened the allure in the past decade, but avid surfers such as Daniel Van Dooren believe there is still plenty of action to be had if you know where to look. The Surf House Dubai co-founder began teaching the sport back in 2005 and has played a major role in progressing the city’s surfing scene.
“Dubai is a great place to surf,” he tells Time Out. “There are pleasant water temperatures – it’s never too cold – and it’s safe as there are no rocks or corals. The waves are two to three feet every day, which is about waist height. On average we get 90 to 100 days of surfing a year here.”
Van Dooren and business partner Scott Chambers both grew up in Dubai and were long frustrated by the lack of opportunities to ride the waves. So, they took matters into their own hands, launching a surf shop in 2005 before opening Surf House Dubai.
And with the season set to end in May, Van Dooren believes now is the time to get out there, with a little help, of course.
“We start by teaching basic techniques on the sand before students go out on the board on their stomach, which is called prone surfing,” he says. “With good coaching and the right equipment it can take as little as three to five lessons to learn the basics.”
Although it’s widely regarded as one of the coolest sports on the planet, many might be put off by the cost of the gear. But the Surf House will rent it out to you so all you need is “suitable swimming gear” and the ability to swim “at least 50 metres”. There’s no excuse to bail then... From Dhs200 per lesson. Jumeirah Beach Road, www.surfingdubai.com (050 504 3020).
Where to catch a wave
Daniel Van Dooren’s top surfing spots in Dubai
Al Mamzar Beach Park It’s a little bit off the beaten track, but that makes it a great spot for those who enjoy some peace and solitude when the surf is up. Due to its location you can often make waves here without having to navigate crowds on the waters. A great choice for those prepared to go the extra mile.
JBR Beach One of most popular beaches in the city, both with sunseekers and watersports enthusiasts. As well as a chance to enjoy some surfing, many people also take to the waters to parasail and wakeboard. If you don’t mind a bit of company while in the water, jump on board here.
Kite Beach Hit the waves at this beauty spot set against the famous backdrop of the Burj Al Arab. If you feel like a break from the traditional version, you might not be surprised to learn that kitesurfing is also a popular pastime at this busy stretch in Jumeirah.
Sunset Beach This is viewed as the biggest surfing spot in Dubai. When the waves get up, expect to find a small army of surfers with boards in tow taking to the waters here, particularly at the weekends. You’ll find more room to manoeuvre during the week.